BMW expects China to become the world’s largest market for electric vehicles

Article by Christian Andrei, on May 28, 2014

Currently, China is slashing car sales to fight the smog and reduce pollution, but it appears that things will evolve even more. According to BMW Group, China is expected to become the world’s largest market for electric vehicles. The country already started to install more charging stations as the Government promotes cleaner cars in order to cut pollution.

China will reach its target within five years, says BMW’s China head Karsten Engel. BMW launched its i subbrand and currently offers the i3 and i8. The BMW i3 is the perfect electric car for a crowded city as it comes with an electric motor that delivers a total output of 170 hp (125 kW) and 250 Nm of torque (184 lb-ft).

This model accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.3 seconds, while top speed is limited at 150 km/h or 93 mph. In addition, BMW offers a 650cc two-cylinder four-stroke petrol engine that generates 34 hp.

Thanks to the range extender, the total range of the BMW i3 is increased to 160-186 miles (257-300 km). The BMW i8 is powered by a 1.5-liter twin-turbo petrol engine that delivers 231 hp (170 kW) and 320 Nm of torque. I8 also comes with an electric motor that generates 131 hp (96 kW) and 250 Nm of torque.

The hybrid system delivers a total output of 362 hp (266 kW) and 570 Nm of torque. As a result, the BMW i8 accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.5 seconds and has a top speed of 250 km/h or 155 mph. Still, this doesn’t mean that the competition is not interested in China.

Tesla already delivered the first Model S cars in China last month, while Volkswagen is planning to introduce more than 15 electrified models by 2018. Daimler is already building electric vehicles with BYD as it introduced the Denza brand.

What’s more interesting is that the public charging points installed at the former Expo site in Shangai will be compatible with electric vehicles made by BMW and other brands such as BYD and SAIC.

The bad news is that Tesla needs to install its own large supercharger network in China as its vehicles are not compatible with the public charging points. BMW will start selling the i3 in China in September and due to the lack of supply, the company expects to sell around 1,000 units in the country. [source: automotive news - sub. required]

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